New York State governor Kathy Hochul has recently signed two bills into law that will expand the ability to submit affirmations in lieu of affidavits. Bill A05772/S5162 amends CPLR Section 2106 to expand the ability to submit and affirmation in lieu of an affidavit from certain health care practitioners to any person.
Prior to this Bill’s passage, only attorneys, physicians, osteopaths, or dentists who are admitted to practice in the state of New York and are not a party to an action and any person who is physically located outside the geographic boundaries of the United States or United States territories can submit an affirmation in lieu of an affidavit.
Now under the new law, any person may submit an affirmation sworn under penalty of perjury and it will have the same force and effect as an affidavit. This will allow attorneys and their support staff to use an affirmation of service documents instead of an affidavit of service.
The affirmation shall be in substantially the following form: I affirm this ___ day of __________, under penalties of perjury under the laws of New York, which may include a fine or imprisonment, that the foregoing is true, and I understand that this document may be filed in an action or proceeding in a court of law. (Signature).
The New York Legislature’s justification for the new law is that requirement that litigants of civil matters and other court participants have documents notarized is unduly burdensome. The bill will align New York with the over twenty other states that allow federal practice and it will relieve the unnecessary burdens on litigants, non-party witnesses, clerks, courts, and attorney’s staff. The legislature believes the bill will have a positive effect by providing increased efficiency of getting court papers filed properly.
The new bill will take effect on January 1, 2024 and will be applicable to all actions commenced on or after such effective date and on all actions pending on such effective date.
In the interim, governor Hochul has also signed into law Bill A6065/S2997 which is currently in effect and will remain in effect until January 1, 2024. The bill expands the list of professionals who may affirm the truth of a statement rather than submitting an affidavit to all healthcare practitioners who are licensed, certified, or authorized under the Education Law. On January 1, 2024, this bill becomes dormant, and Bill A05772/S5162 becomes effective.
If your practice has questions about the operation of these new laws or needs guidance in complying with these new rules, call the attorneys at Tesser, Ryan & Rochman LLP today for a consultation at (212) 754-9000.